Psalm 138:1-8 : Title. The Septuagint entitle this, " A Psalm of," or for, " David, Haggai, and Zechariah;" perhaps meaning, that these prophets taught the congregation to use it, in giving thanks for Israel"s return from captivity.
V:1. Before the gods.] " Thy holy angels shall be witnesses of my gratitude, which I will express in psalms " and hymns, in the presence of the great assembly of the " Judges, ... that they may remember to whom they owe " their power and authority." Bp. Patrick. (Notes, Psalm 82:1; Psalm 82:6-7 Psalm 96:5. Psalm 97:3-7) Perhaps the Psalmist also meant, that he would praise JEHOVAH in the presence of the most powerful heathen princes, in contempt of the objects of their idolatrous worship, and as a protest against it.
V:2. Marg. Ref. Thou hast magnified, etc.] The accomplishment of the promises which God had made to David, notwithstanding all opposition and difficulties, honoured his word of grace and truth. This accomplishment appeared so fully and clearly, that the glory reflected "rom the other works of God, as displaying his omnipo;ence and omniscience, his awful justice and holiness, and other perfections, appeared to be here surpassed; or,;hat discovery of the glorious God, which has been made n his promises to fallen man in general, or particularly to Abraham, and Israel, and David, and in the accomplishment of them, exceeds, and as it were eclipses, the glory of all his other works. The giving and fulfilling his promises of a Saviour, the only begotten Son of God, and redemption through his propitiation and death to sinners, especially redounds " to the praise of his glory," even " the "" glory of his grace and truth, wherein he hath abounded
"" towards us, in all wisdom and prudence." (Notes, Psalm 56:3-4; Psalm 85:10-13. John 1:17. Ephesians 1:1-12. 1 Peter 1:10-12. 1 John 4:9-12.)
V:3. When God strengthens the faith, hope, love, salience, and holy fortitude of his afflicted servants, he trengthens them with strength in their souls : and though;heir outward trials and sufferings continue, yet their jrayers are answered in the most desirable manner. (Notes, Isaiah 40: 27-31. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Ephesians 3:13-19, Philippians 4:10-13. Colossians 1:9-14.)
V:4, 5. Perhaps David expected, that his example and instructions, and the merciful and faithful dealings of God with him, would have a salutary effect on the neighbouring princes. (Notes, Psalm 86:9-10. Psalm 119:46.) These verses, however, are an evident and remarkable prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and of such a prevalence of true religion as has not yet taken place on earth. (notes, Psalm 22:27-31; Psalm 72:8-11. Revelation 11:15-18.) The Lord Jesus, in his agony, prayed more fervently; and he was strengthened with strength in his soul : he was in due time raised from the dead; and then the gentile nations, and at length some of their princes, heard and embraced the gospel, and sang psalms of joyful praise, while walking " in the ways " of the LORD " " for great was the glory of the LORD." What will it then be, when " all kings shall fall down before " him, all nations shall do him service ? " When they hear, &c. (4) Notes, Romans 10:12-17. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:13.
v6. The infinite majesty and sovereign power of God are combined with equal condescension and mercy, to the meanest of his subjects. It is especially the established rule of his government over the race of Adam, to regard with favour, to accept and comfort, the lowly; and to stand as it were at a distance from the proud, as abhorring and detesting them, and to " know " them only as his enemies. (Notes, Psalm 51:17 - Psalm 113:4-8. 1 Samuel 2:4-8. P. O. Isaiah 2: 10 -22. Notes, Isaiah 5715, 16. Daniel 4:34-37. Luke 14:7-11; Luke 18:9-14. James 4:4-6.)" Let" then, " this " mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, ... " who humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, " even the death of the cross : wherefore God hath highly " exalted him." (Notes, Philippians 2:1-11.)
V:7- Marg. Ref. Revive."] Or, Quicken. (Note, Psalm 119:25.) Either preserve alive, restore to life, or render lively and cheerful, " giving life more abundantly." David was kept alive, rendered lively, and made more earnest in religion by his trials and afflictions : but Christ, after all his unspeakable sufferings, and his death for our sins, was restored to life, as the first-fruits of the resurrection, of wnich all his people shall participate.
V:8 " Though mine enemies rage never so much, yet " the Lord, who hath begun his work in me, will continue " his grace to the end." (Notes, Psalm 100:3. Ephesians 2:4-10. Philippians 1:3-6.)
" Grace shall complete what grace begins,
" To save from sorrows or from sins : The work that wisdom undertakes, " Eternal mercy ne"er forsakes." Watts.
We ought to glory in ascribing glory to our God; and when we can " praise him with our whole heart," we need not be reluctant for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him. Those, who rely on his loving-kindness and truth through Jesus Christ, will be sure to find him faithful to his word. In performing his promises, he more magnifies his perfections, than in all his other works; of which he has given us an illustrious specimen and earnest, in sending the promised Saviour " to be the " propitiation for our sins : " and " if he spared not his own
" Song of Solomon, ... how shall he not with him also freely give us all " things?" In the day when the Redeemer cried in the agony of his soul, he heard him, and strengthened him to finish the arduous work assigned to him : and, having humbled himself even to the death upon the cross, he is now exalted to the throne of glory. For his sake the Lord will strengthen all who fervently pray in his name, that they may be carried through all their trials : tneir experience will more and more embolden them in saying, " Though I " walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me : thou " wilt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine " enemies, and thy right hand shall save me." Yea, the Lord will perfect the salvation of every true believer : and though he has been often provoked to destroy the works of . his hands, as Creator; (Notes, Isaiah 27: 7- 11; 43: 14- 21, v: 21;) yet he will never forsake those whom he has created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. Let then all, who trust in and call upon him, praise him with joyful hearts. " Let them sing in the ways of the LORD for great " is the glory of the LORD" in order that sinners may hear, and be convinced that they are a happy people, and be induced to seek his face. (Note, Zechariah 8:20-23.) And they will not seek in vain : " for though the LORD be high, " yet he hath respect to every lowly," humbled sinner : but the proud, the impenitent and unbelieving, are known by him as his enemies, and will be banished far from his blissful presence. Nor will the most powerful kings and princes be excepted from this general rule. They too must hearken to the words of his mouth, and humble themselves before his mercy-seat; that, being made partakers of his grace, they may rejoice in his ways, and use their pre-eminence in advancing his glory; otherwise where the Saviour Isaiah, thither they cannot come. (Note, James 1:9-11.) Lord hasten that time, which thy word teaches us confidently to expect, when all the kings of the earth shall praise thy name, and be obedient to the words of thy mouth !
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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 138". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany